Struggling with your six-pack? You need to evolve from simple bodyweight exercises and ask your abs to do what you make just about every other muscle do in the gym: move an external load. You won’t just look more muscular—you’ll get stronger, too.
Men’s Health fitness director, Ebenezer Samuel, uses this exercise, a rotational decline weighted situp, to add some weight to a movement that is often done without a load.
“This move is one-stop shopping for your abs,” says Samuel. “Among the things your core does for you: It braces your torso, flexes your spine, rotates your torso, and fights rotation of your torso (anti-rotation). You’re doing these four things in this one move.”
To take on the exercise, you’ll need an adjustable bench and a weight. Samuel is using a dumbbell here, in part because its shape allows him to keep his hands wide, but you can use whatever type of load you have handy.
- Start by positioning yourself in the decline bench, holding a light weight in both hands.
- Lower your torso down so that its parallel to the ground. Hold the weight straight out from your chest, keeping your arms as straight as possible.
- Rotate your torso and arms to one side as far as possible, twisting from low in your torso. Pause for 1 or 2 seconds.
- Rotate back to centre while also squeezing your core to perform a situp, keeping your arms straight and brining the weight overhead.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
Don’t forget about the weight and let your arms get lazy because you’re focused on the rotation. “Once you’re in the rotated position, really extend the weight away from your torso,” Samuel says. “The more you do this, the more you force your abs to battle to hold you in place, essentially forcing them to anti-rotate you from a tricky position.”
The situp shouldn’t just be a lazy break between the reps. “When you do this, focus hard on taking your time and blending a rotation back to center with the sit-up motion,” advises Samuel. You’ll feel this along your obliques and serratus if you do it right; keep holding that weight high too.”
The rotational decline weighted situp creates a tonne of time under tension and requires high level body control, so Samuel says that 3 sets of 8 to 10 good reps will rock you.
This article originally appeared on Men’s Health US